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“Heroin in flowers” driver jailed 01.10.09

A DONEGAL lorry driver has been jailed for 16 years after he attempted to smuggle £2.5 million worth of heroin and cannabis into Britain hidden in fresh flowers.
Thompson Derek Spence, aged 43 from St Johnston, was intercepted by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers on Thursday, May 29, 2008, at Harwich International Port. He was driving a large articulated lorry and had arrived on the early morning ferry from Holland.
The cab unit and trailer of the vehicle were searched and in one of the pallet lockers, officers found a cardboard box marked “fresh cut flowers”. Instead of fresh flowers they discovered a number of heat sealed bags containing what appeared to be a herbal substance. A field test produced a positive reaction to cannabis.
When the other pallet locker of the trailer was examined a second cardboard flower box was found which contained a quantity of heat sealed plastic bags containing brown tape wrapped packages. A field test on these packages showed a positive reaction to heroin.
In total, 43kg of heroin and 25kg of herbal cannabis was recovered. The drugs had a combined estimated street value of £2.5 million.
John Kay, assistant director of criminal Investigation for HMRC said: "The sentence handed down by the court will act as a deterrent to those involved in drug trafficking and clearly shows that crime doesn't pay."
Spence was found guilty by Ipswich Crown Court on 28 September after an eleven day trial. He was sentenced to 16 years on the heroin charges and three years concurrently on the cannabis charges.

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